kyrgyzstanboyinfield globallinks

Indices and Surveys

No existing index or survey examines the world through a pluralism lens. However, some global and regional information resources do illuminate some of the drivers of cohesion and fracture in diverse societies. Some assess the experience and condition of minorities. Others track indicators related to issues that concern every society, including good governance, the rule of law, and equality provisions for women and men. Many indices and surveys are concerned with issues of state fragility and the state of countries experiencing conflict. A few track the attitudes and policies of Western liberal democracies toward immigrant diversity.

This list, which draws on a global information scan prepared for the Centre by Dr. Patrick Travers, is organized by instrument name. Each entry includes a brief description of the instrument’s purpose followed by an assessment of its applicability as a tool for understanding the global state of pluralism.

Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) | Bertelsmann Foundation

Keywords:  index, thematic, biennial

The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) analyzes and evaluates the quality of democracy, a market economy and political management in 128 developing and transition countries. It measures successes and setbacks on the path toward a democracy based on the rule of law and a market economy flanked by sociopolitical safeguards. Within this framework, the BTI publishes two rankings, the Status Index and the Management Index. In-depth country reports provide the qualitative data used to assess these countries’ transformation status and challenges, and to evaluate the ability of policymakers to carry out consistent and targeted reforms. The BTI is the first cross-national comparative index that uses self-collected data to measure the quality of governance and provide a comprehensive analysis of countries’ policymaking success during processes of transition. The Status Index ranks the countries according to their state of democracy and market economy as of spring 2011. The Management Index ranks the countries according to their leadership’s political management performance between 2009 and 2011.

The BTI supports global analysis through a pluralism lens in several ways. First, the index captures a range of issues associated with law, politics, civil society, and livelihoods. Second, the results of each survey are available as disaggregated data, which allows tracking of pluralism issues at the indicator and sub-indicator levels. Third, detailed country reports accompany the index scores and extrapolate on the findings in greater detail. The underlying data for BTI is available at


CrisisWatch | International Crisis Group

Keywords:  early warning, global, monthly

CrisisWatch is a 12-page monthly bulletin designed to provide the policy community, media, business and interested general public with a succinct regular update on the most significant situations of conflict or potential conflict around the world. The CrisisWatch Database enables readers to search past and current editions by region or conflict situation within a specified date range.

Using simple graphics to indicate amelioration or deterioration of situations, the publication seeks to provide early warning of any imminent conflict risks. Very short sections on each crisis provide an overview of significant developments during the last month. Drawing on the International Crisis Group’s sensitivity to internal strife, strong field expertise, and cultural analysis, CrisisWatch is an excellent tool for monthly monitoring of the risks of pluralism failure; however, it does not capture negative pluralism trends in otherwise stable countries.    


Ethnic Power Relations (EPR) Dataset | ETH Zurich and University of California at Los Angeles

Keywords:  database, global, irregular

The Ethnic Power Relations dataset (EPR) identifies all politically relevant ethnic groups and their access to state power in every country of the world from 1946 to 2005. It includes annual data on over 733 groups and codes the degree to which their representatives held executive-level state power—from total control of the government to overt political discrimination. Based on the input of dozens of regional and country specialists as well as independent research, EPR improves upon existing dataset that provide information on excluded demographic minorities only. EPR is a dynamic dataset that captures changes in ethnic politics over time, unlike static indicators such as ethnic fractionalization indices. The EPR website, hosted by UCLA, provides access to the EPR dataset in both country-year and group-country-year format. In addition, you can also access information on coding rule and download current research articles and replication data that draw upon EPR. The EPR dataset is also available in a fully geo-coded version (called GeoEPR). The EPR project is a collaborative effort between researchers at the ETH Zurich and the University of California Los Angeles. Although the dataset ends in 2005, the EPR is a valuable source of information for aspects of pluralism related to law and politics.  


Failed States Index | Fund for Peace

Keywords:  survey, global, annual

The Failed States Index (FSI) is a tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, the FSI — and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built — makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large. Using the Fund for Peace’s own proprietary software, the FSI distill millions of pieces of information gleaned from a variety of sources into a form that is relevant as well as easily digestible and informative. The Fund for Peace daily collects thousands of reports and information from around the world, detailing the existing social, economic and political pressures faced by each of the 178 countries that we analyze.

The twelve indicators employed by the Failed States Index – or, in some cases, their various sub-indicators – support analyses of pluralism issues associated with law and politics, livelihoods, and a history of group conflict. FFP’s practice of distributing the Failed State Index raw results disaggregated by indicator allows for a search on the basis of the group grievance indicator, which may prove a decent proxy for pluralism failure. This particular aspect of the Failed State Index helps to identify countries with a heightened risk of conflict along ethnic, cultural, and linguistic lines.


Freedom in the World | Freedom House  

Keywords:  survey, global, annual

Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s flagship publication, is the standard-setting comparative assessment of global political rights and civil liberties. Published annually since 1972, the survey ratings and narrative reports on 195 countries and 14 related and disputed territories are used by policymakers, the media, international corporations, civic activists, and human rights defenders to monitor trends in democracy and track improvements and setbacks in freedom worldwide. The Freedom in the World data and reports are available in their entirety on the Freedom House website.

The approach is explicitly based on the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition to a detailed presentation of the results, the report includes a substantive analysis of global and regional trends. This typically includes both an assessment of any underlying causes that affect changes in multiple countries’ scores as well as brief explanations for particularly positive or negative shifts at the country level. The report assumes a reasonable familiarity with relevant political events and does not offer detailed country or regional analysis. Freedom in the World offers analysis that is broadly relevant to a pluralism lens. Of the twelve questions included in the survey, one targets pluralism most closely: “do cultural, ethnic, religious, or other minority groups have full political rights and electoral opportunities?” Three other questions address religious freedom, equal treatment of segments of the population, and equality of economic opportunity.  


Ibrahim Index of African Governance | Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Keywords:  index, regional, annual

Produced annually and focused on Africa, the IIAG adopts a broad definition of governance explicitly designed to assess state performance from the perspective of its citizens. The index accordingly incorporates a range of political, economic, and social goods and services. On this basis, governance is divided into four categories with a total of 14 sub-categories between them: Safety and the Rule of Law (Rule of Law, Accountability, Personal Safety, National Security); Participation & Human Rights (Participation, Rights, Gender); Sustainable Economic Opportunity (Public Management, Business Environment, Infrastructure, Rural Sector); and Human Development (Welfare, Education, and Health). The index takes a statistical approach to assigning scores in each category and relies on a total of 88 indicators taken from independent sources of data.  

The IIAG is a particularly useful tool for assessing pluralism issues related to governance in Africa. First, the broad definition of governance encompasses a reasonably wide range of issues associated with the pluralism, including participation, rule of law, rights, and education. Second, the index is produced annually in a form that permits public users to manipulate the raw results. As such, it is possible to assess African states’ performance at the basic indicator level, enabling the isolation of relevant factors. Third, the IIAG draws on a wide range of data sources in a methodologically robust way. Although the regional scope of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s work does limit applicability for global analysis, this is compensated by the quality, practical utility, and wide substantive scope of the index.


Multiculturalism Policy Index |Queen’s University   

Keywords:  index, thematic, irregular

The Multiculturalism Policy Index is a scholarly research project that monitors the evolution of multiculturalism policies in 21 Western democracies. The project is designed to provide information about multiculturalism policies in a standardized format that aids comparative research and contributes to the understanding of state-minority relations. The project provides an index at three points in time - 1980, 2000, 2010 – and for three types of minorities: one index relating to immigrant groups, one relating to historic national minorities, and one relating to indigenous peoples. The Multiculturalism Policy Index and supporting documentation are freely available for researchers, public officials, journalists, students, activists, and others interested in the topic.

The Multiculturalism Policy Index is a useful tool for tracking pluralism commitments and deficits in Western liberal democracies. It covers a range of issues relating to pluralism, including protections for political participation, legal arrangements for ensuring minorities have a public voice, and education policies.


Peoples under Threat | Minority Rights Group International (MRG)

Keywords:  index, global, annual

Technically part of the reference section of the State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples reports, the Peoples under Threat annual survey provides a global ranking of states according to threat of political conflict. It is specifically designed to identify the risk of genocide, mass killing or other systematic violent repression. The survey employs a formula to aggregate ten variables: (1) self-determination conflicts; (2) major armed conflict; (3) prior genocide/politicide; (4) massive population movements; (5) legacy of vengeance or political grievance; (6) rise of factionalized elites; (7) voice and accountability; (8) political stability; (9) rule of law; and (10) OECD country risk classification.  MRG sources data for the survey from the Center for Systemic Peace Major Episodes of Violence dataset, the University of Maryland peace and conflict dataset, the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research Conflict Barometer, the US Political Instability Task Force, the Failed States Index, the World Bank Annual Governance Indicators, and the OECD Country Risk Classification. MRG also employs two ranking scales to categorize self-determination and major armed conflicts. This data is rebased to allow cross-category comparison and weighted to reflect to account for differing variable types. A proprietary formula then generates an overall score, with particular weighting applied to factors associated with mass political violence or systematic repression. The survey is currently the closest existing tool to an annual index of pluralism failure and for identifying countries at immediate risk.


R2P Monitor | Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect

Keywords:  early warning, global, bimonthly

The R2P Monitor is a bimonthly publication applying a Responsibility to Protect (R2P) lens to situations where populations are at risk of, or are currently facing, mass atrocity crimes. Often these situations relate to diverse societies suffering a deficit of pluralism. The R2P Monitor provides background on populations at risk of mass atrocity crimes, with particular emphasis on key events and actors and their connection to the threat, or commission, of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. It offers analysis of the country's past history in relation to mass atrocity crimes; the factors that have enabled their possible commission or that prevent their resolution; and the receptivity of the situation to positive influences that would assist in preventing further crimes. It tracks the international response to the situation with a particular emphasis upon the actions of the United Nations (UN), key regional actors and the International Criminal Court (ICC). And it suggests necessary action to prevent or halt the commission of mass atrocity crimes.

A typical issue of R2P Monitor identifies approximately 10 situations of concern. In each case, the monitor summarizes recent development, focuses on key trends in the international response to the crisis, and offers concrete suggestions for action. The focus throughout is on analysing the political dynamics of the cases and identifying how the international community might best use available policy tools to respond effectively.


State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples | Minority Rights International Group

Keywords:  report, global, annual

State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples provides an annual assessment of the situations of ethnic, cultural, and linguistic minorities in countries around the world. Each report includes several essays on a selected theme, a series of regional overviews that include narrative studies of selected countries and a reference section that includes the Peoples under Threat survey as well as an evaluation of the ratification status of major international treaties. The regional and country studies are carried out by researchers associated with Minority Rights Group International. Each provides a brief assessment of the relative impact of national level challenges for minorities, recent instances of conflict amongst ethnic, cultural, and linguistic groups, and the state of political, institutional, and legal mechanisms relevant to minority rights. Some studies also offer a general prognosis or pass judgment on the likely success of reforms underway.

These analyses are directly relevant to the assessment of pluralism. Not only does the report provide the best available single global assessment of existing conflict with minority groups, but the narrative studies also provide important context on the impact of factors relating to law and politics, economic development, civil society, and history as drivers of pluralism. Overall, State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples provides a valuable source of global perspective on diversity and pluralism issues.


State of the World’s Human Rights | Amnesty International

Keywords:  report, global, annual

A substantial annual report with impressive scope, the latest State of the World’s Human Rights covers 155 countries. The document includes regional overviews marking significant human rights trends as well as shorter country-specific reports. While the specific emphasis varies according to developments in each country, the report as a whole maintains a close focus on political and legal issues. Each country analysis also includes an assessment of prevailing freedom of expression and repression of dissent. While issues associated with the effectiveness and vibrancy of civil society are occasionally captured where they lie at the heart of recent developments, the report does not systematically consider these factors in every case. This is also true of the treatment of minority rights, social cleavages, and the management of diversity. In this respect, the report tends to address pluralism drivers in contexts where they relate to human rights concerns, especially with respect to political and legal rights. The report serves as a useful source for tracking general trends, identifying negative developments in countries of concern, or buttressing country-specific analysis.


Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) | Bertelsmann Foundation

Keywords:  index, thematic, biennial

The Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) examine governance and policymaking in the 31 OECD member states in order to evaluate each country’s need for and ability to carry out reform. Similar to the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI), the SGI are divided into a Status Index and Management Index, which are calculated using quantitative data from international organizations and then supplemented by qualitative assessments from recognized country experts. The latest release of the SGI, which are updated every two years, took place in March 2011.

Several of the indicators and key categories capture elements that support a pluralism lens such as the rule of law, social inclusion, civil rights, and education. The qualitative analysis in each of these categories typically includes a focus on inequality and exclusion. The selection of social justice as a special thematic study in the latest edition of the Sustainable Governance Indicators included examination of the political dynamics between various groups in society. The GGI prioritizes the issues of transparency and access. The underlying data, which is available at, can be manipulated to examine specific concerns.


World Wide Governance Indicators | World Bank

Keywords:  database, global, annual

The Worldwide Governance Indicators is a large dataset managed by the World Bank that focuses on voice and accountability, political stability, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, the rule of law, and control of corruption. This data is the source of key indicators in a range of global indices and is a widely used reference point. The Worldwide Governance Indicators is a valuable source of quantitative data for a range of governance issues related to pluralism.     


World Report | Human Rights Watch

Keywords:  report, global, annual

Human Rights Watch issues an annual report assessing significant human rights developments. A substantial tome, the report opens with a series of thematic essays, but largely consists of a series of seven to eight page country reports. While the report is global in scope, it does not cover all states, instead focusing on those where human rights issues are particularly problematic. The report’s close focus on human rights supports analysis of pluralism issues associated with law, politics, civil society, and citizenship. Economic considerations feature where systematic inequality or persistent repression is creating related human rights considerations. However, the structure of the document is such that issues specific to pluralism feature in the narrative content, but are not directly highlighted. Notwithstanding this limitation, Human Rights Watch annual reports serve as useful sources of high quality analysis related to situations of concern.


You are here: Home Global Links Indices and Surveys